Letter to the Editor: Toycen -cd

Mike Toycen

Dear Lawrence Community,
SigEp held its annual Peace + Harmony party this past Saturday, Apr., 19. We would like to clarify with everyone some publicity that was put up around campus about the party.
SigEp went to the Associate Dean of Students and had posters approved for advertising. However, it was brought to our attention that extremely offensive posters were put up in our name. Sigma Phi Epsilon had no connection whatsoever to these posters. In contrast to our posters placed around campus, these posters falsely represented us and were slanderous, racist, and misogynistic. Every member of SigEp is upset over this matter. We cannot overstate our anger and frustration with this guerrilla smear campaign.
By confronting the problem in this manner solved nothing. People with the courage to stand up for their convictions would have directly approached us; instead, by displaying this subterfuge, they have committed an act of cowardice. These tactics did nothing to help; they in no way promoted open dialogue.
One poster advertised that “blackface [is] encouraged.” To imply that SigEp is racist is ridiculous. SigEp has a history on the Lawrence campus of being one of the most racially diverse houses. It is also important to point out how diverse the crowd was that showed up to the party on Saturday. If we are to believe these posters, then many people of many different ethnicities showed up to help “celebrate racist caricatures” with SigEp.”
Finally, Peace + Harmony is not meant to “celebrate violence against sex workers.” No member of SigEp feels that way, and we hope that no one else on campus does either. Again, if we are to believe these misrepresentative posters, it amazes us how many women showed up to “celebrate violence against sex workers.”
We find it deplorable to have to defend our reputations against this smear campaign — but we highly value our integrity as well as the integrity of the entire Lawrence campus. We understand the issues raised, but we do not condone the methods used. This incident echoes the same-sex marriage postering debacle last year with the Viking Conservatives. In the future we encourage open dialogue. Ultimately, however, our Peace + Harmony party is about having fun; it is not about politics.
Despite the postering controversy that occurred before the party, the party itself was highly successful. We thank everyone who attended for making the party very fun and safe. We look forward to hosting more open-campus events in the future.
Michael D. Toycen, President, WI-Alpha
Jared C. Frazier, V.P. Programming, WI-Alpha